Authors: Don't do this.

>> Monday, July 19, 2010

Foolish authors on the Internet, installment #392: Historian Orlando Figes, a professor of history at Birkbeck, University of London, has copped to posting critical reviews of his scholarly rivals on Amazon, while at the same time posting what he thought were anonymous positive reviews of his own work.

When the maligned authors called on him to come clean, he got litigious. I suppose when he realized that if things actually went to court he'd be busted, so next he laid off the blame on his wife, who, he said, had done all the flaming. In April though, he admitted that wasn't entirely true either. From the Guardian article:

In a statement released on 23 April Figes admitted "full responsibility" for the posts, saying he had been under "intense pressure". He said: "I have made some foolish errors and apologise wholeheartedly to all concerned."

Foolish errors. No kidding.

As part of the agreed settlement Figes, who has been on sick leave since the scandal broke, has circulated an apology and retraction. Figes and his wife also agreed to pay his fellow historians damages and legal costs, and promised not to repeat the allegations or post further anonymous reviews of their works.

Authors, seriously: Don't be a prat. The Internet is watching.


Tracy Barrett July 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

At a conference, I heard someone ask a famous children's author if he'd read the good review on Amazon for his latest book. His answer: "Read it? Hell, I wrote it!"

Anonymous,  July 19, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

And that is exactly why reviews on amazon mean little to nothing.

Alan Gratz July 19, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

Tracy: Oy!

Anonymous: And yet I read them, and I think many other people do too.

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